With the cost of living continuing to soar, many of us are looking for ways to cut back on spending – especially when it comes to the weekly food shop.
For those looking to tighten their belts, the grocery run is now a hunt for cheap deals and own-brand alternatives – especially for families with several mouths to feed.
Thankfully, supermarkets are expanding their budget ranges, offering people the chance to save money on essentials without having to buy less food.
Manchester Evening News editor Gemma Gill decided to put Morrison’s Saver range to the test this week to see what foods were as good as branded items – and what products didn’t quick hit the mark.
Here’s what she found:
Judging by the empty shelves where many of the Savers products should be, I wasn’t the only one with that idea.
The wonky fruit and veg is clearly a hit – there were none left at all of the whopping 750g packs of peppers for £1.19 and the 69p packs of wonky apples seemed just as popular.
Wonky grapes – at 99p for a 400g pack – didn’t look half as nice as the 500g packs of the usual Morrisons seedless grapes, but unless you want enough of them to make use of the two for £3 offer, the taste difference probably isn’t worth paying the extra for (especially if half the time they’re found lingering at the bottom of a lunchbox).
As well as its Savers brand, Morrisons’ other budget brands include Woodheads and Greenside for things like meats and cheeses and Stephenson’s Bakery for cheaper bread and cakes.
Sadly we didn’t get to try the eight-pack of Greenside sausage rolls for £1 as they’d sold out during our late Wednesday night visit (there’s a theme here), but we did sample the brand’s pork pies. They were a bit on the bland side, but at 85p for a pack of four, you’re hardly going to get Melton Mowbray quality.
The cheese and bacon quiche however, at £1.45, was anything but bland. A slice (or two) was an ideal lunchtime snack, but the full thing could easily make a meal with some veggies or salad and maybe jacket potatoes.
We also gave the ‘new’ Savers frozen mini sausage rolls a whirl, £1 for a whopping 700g, and the tasty little parcels were wolfed down with delight.
Eggs were a bargain at 50p for six – free range too – as was the giant 1kg tub of Savers soft buttery spread for £1.38.
And there were loads more basics priced the same or near enough to those at Aldi and Lidl and in other supermarket budget ranges – like a 1kg bag of rice for 45p, a 500g bag of pasta for 30p, chopped tomatoes for 32p a tin, wheat biscuits cereal (their version of Weetabix) for 74p and cheddar cheese at £1.79 for 400g.
The huge 1kg bag of frozen mince for £3.50 stretched to two meals – a spaghetti Bolognese and a chilli – and you couldn’t really tell it was pork and beef rather than just our usual beef. In comparison, Aldi’s frozen mince is £3.59 for a kg, but that’s just beef rather than the mix.
‘Taste with your mouth, not your eyes’ is one of Martin Lewis’ tips to cutting grocery costs (can you tell I’m a fan), as he knows only too well how sucked in we all are by fancy packaging.
There’s certainly none of that with this Savers range, mostly some text on a plain white label, so it doesn’t exactly sell itself next to other more elaborate items. Not that you’d know from some of the bare shelves mind.
But if you can see past that and realize how much you’re getting for your money, and that actually much of it doesn’t taste that different to what you’d usually buy, you might just make some swaps that stick.
I won’t be buying it all again – the crumpets were edible with the marmalade on but would be pretty much flavorless on their own – but I’m regretting the fact that I didn’t try the budget ranges sooner.
The 100g bar of Savers white chocolate for just 30p is worthy of a trip in itself, as are the packs of 20 milk chocolate digestive bars for £1.30 – potentially my new favorite biscuit.
Even the cashier was praising the Savers 700g variety packs of custard creams, bourbons, malted milks and shortcakes as she whizzed them through the tills. “I like these, you can’t tell the difference between them and any others,” she said.
She might work there, but I think it’s sound advice we all need to take on board. Can you really afford not to?
Here’s my full Morrisons’ Savers and budget brand shopping list
- Frozen beef and pork mince £3.50
- Cheese and tomato pizza 89p
- Wheat Biscuits 74p
- Eggs (six-pack) 50p
- Cheese and bacon quiche £1.45
- Willow paste 39p
- Chopped Tomatoes (x2) 64p
- Soft spread £1.38
- Sausage rolls £1
- Kidney beans 30p
- prickly pear 59p
- mayonnaise 44p
- orange juice 59p
- Pork sausages £1
- Crumpets 25p
- Cheddar cheese £1.79
- pork feet 85p
- peanut butter 85p
- Cooked ham £1.35
- Marmalade 30p
- Custard 32p
- wonky grapes 99p
- pasta 30p
- Whitechocolate 30p
- Digestive bars £1.30
- Biscuits £1.25
- Lollies 65p
- Toastie loaf 59p (cheapest unavailable)
- Baked Beans 22p
- Trifle (x 2) 60p
- Rice 45p
- wonky apples 69p
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